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Sunday, 21 September 2014

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Cumbrian axe killer's sentence doubled by Appeal Court judges

A man jailed for life after killing his mother and sister with an axe during a drink-and-drug-induced schizophrenic episode has had his 'too soft' jail term more than doubled by top judges.

John Jenkin photo
John Jenkin

John Jenkin admitted killing his mother Alice McMeekin and his sister, Kathryn Jenkin, at their home in Newton Street, Millom, in June last year.

He was originally charged with murder but his pleas of guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility were accepted by prosecutors.

The 24-year-old was ordered to serve at least 12 years behind bars at Preston Crown Court in March but this was halved by the crown court judge the following month.

However, after lawyers acting for the Solicitor General, Oliver Heald QC, argued six years was nowhere near tough enough for his crimes, the sentence was today upped to 13 years and four months by judges sitting at London's Criminal Appeal Court.

Lord Justice Treacy said: "The sentence imposed of life imprisonment with a minimum term of six years was unduly lenient.

"We give effect to our decision by increasing the minimum term to one of 13 years and four months."

Jenkin took LSD, whisky, cannabis and painkillers and tried to drown himself in a river before cutting his wrists on June 6 last year.

He was taken to Furness General Hospital in Barrow for treatment where, following an examination by a psychiatric nurse, he was released.

He then killed his mother and sister at the family home two days later. He also killed the family dog.

The Appeal Court heard he was found to be 'psychotic' at the time of the killings and had told police he had either tried to, or had had sex with, his sister after killing her.

Lawyers for the Solicitor General argued that, in spite of his disturbed state of mind at the time, Jenkin still had 'substantial responsibility' when he killed his mother and sister.

They also said the fact there were two deaths, his lack of remorse and his 'self-induced' psychosis, through his abuse of drugs and alcohol, were all factors which worsened his crimes.

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